News March 2021


Plastic Recycling project with Berry Global
Whilst we have every intention to launch this project later in the year the timetable has slipped due to Covid restrictions. As things ease and the weather improves outdoor, appropriately-distanced gatherings will become more attractive and we'll finally be able to get going!

Energy round up

The RCEF funded feasibility study, looking principally at a 'Heat from Minewater' project at Haltwhistle's swimming and Leisure Centre, grew out of STS discussions on community energy. Luckily the steering group took a broad brush approach and, whilst the novelty of minewater derived heat appealed, hydropower, ground- and roof-mounted PV were also considered. In the event and on the advice of our consultant, Ewan Boyd, the study focussed on three potentially feasible projects; two sites for roof-mounted PV and the minewater project. Unfortunately the government has just scrapped non-domestic Renewable Heat Initiative payments and the minewater project which was of marginal financial feasibility is now looks not to be be viable. Ewan's full report will now be considered by the HSLC trustees and we'll see what transpires...
The steering group who managed the feasibility study, with the support of Haltwhistle Partnership's Andy Dean, are however set to continue their work and consider other community energy related initiatives. Do get in touch if you'd like to be involved.

STS supports the Local Electricity Bill which will allow communities to sell power generated by their projects to local people. I recently received a message from the campaigning organisation Power For People urging us to write individually to our MP, Guy Opperman, who as yet not confirmed support for the bill. See for info and advice about writing such a letter. There is also a webinar, Achieving the Community Energy Revolution, at 7pm on Feb 24th which will explain the issues and help supporters to ensure that actions make an impact.

In January Transition Tynedale hosted a talk by one of their members, Mike Domingue, on Green Grants and Air Source Heat Pumps. Mike presents the issues, discusses grant availability and speaks candidly about his own experience of installing an airsource heat pump in a terraced house in Hexham. You can catch up here:

Boxing Day 2020 was a record breaking day for wind power generation in Britain - the first 24-hour period where wind farms supplied more than half of the country's electricity.

UK backtracks on Neonictinoids. Environment secretary George Eustice is allowing a product containing the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam to be used by UK sugar beet growers this year.
The government knows the clear harm that neonicotinoid pesticides cause to bees and other pollinators and just three years ago supported the EU ban. To express your concern and force a debate in parliament please sign the petition:

Northumberlnd County Council has recently published its Climate Action Plan for the next couple of years. You can read it - and use it to argue for support for green initiatives!

Saturday 13 March 2021:
Power to the people - Shaping UK climate policy through deliberative democracy.

Gwen Buck, Policy adviser, Green Alliance.

All the debates will be held on Zoom this year. For details of the program, how to join and access recordings of past events:

There are two new groups in Hexham tackling sustainability related issues and an exciting initiative to reform Hexham Town Council along the lines of 'flat pack democracy' as developed in Frome, Somerset.

Hexham Space for Nature (HS4N)
What we're about: "We think our parks, streets and road verges can be looked after in a way which is attractive and safe for people, but also provides food and shelter for wildlife. We should also be able to reduce chemical use and carbon emissions and store more carbon at the same time."
This new group already has an impressive range of projects including;

  • making Hexham a haven for swifts,
  • Hexham Hoedown - reducing Glyphosate (Round-Up) use by encouraging residents and community groups to 'adopt a street' and manually weed pavements and other edge areas
  • developing a Hexham tree plan - having noted that the County Council has no plan or strategy relating to trees in Hexham (or any where else) HS4N are considering writing one themselves!

    To join us in changing the way our public spaces are managed please sign up to our mailing list via this link

Active Travel Tynedale CIC - is working to promote walking and cycling as the transport mode of choice for getting to your destination and campaigning to ensure that active travel choices are safe, efficient and enjoyable. This group is co-ordinated by Carolin Blaskie

Meanwhile Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership is seeking funds to develop their JAMM on the train project. JAMM stands for Just A Mindful Minute and is a health promoting app suggesting exercise and mindfulness activities which can be accomplished in one minute bursts and so readily built into everyday activities such that they become habitual. See here for an explanation of JAMM
TVCRP plan to develop a JAMM on the Train ap with activities suggested for and particularly suited to a walk to the station, waiting on the platform or sitting on the train.

Next time you're in Hexham check out the phone box in Hencotes. It's now a book and seed swap!
Thanks to the efforts of David and Annie at the Refill Station [books] and Pixie Jewels [plants and seeds].

Meanwhile in Gilsland the bus shelter is now a DVD and book swap - check out Gilsland Community Library on facebook. Thanks to Emma Guerreo for keeping it tidy and removing those books that no one seems to want...
Temon Farm Milk Barn (on the A69 just where it crosses the Cumbrian Northumberland border) now sells a whole lot more than just milk! And all from vending machines - cards only no cash facility, except honesty box cash for milk shake syrups. Just arrived is a range of ice cream, made with Temon's own jersey milk, by Jethro's of Haltwhistle.

Get in touch
Any questions, comments or contributions to this monthly e-newsletter?
Please contact 016977 47359

South Tyne Sustainability aims to reduce the impact of the community of Haltwhistle and surrounding villages on our environment. This will help individuals, families and our community save money and resources and ensure a more sustainable future for us all.

To join STS contact Sue Seymour, 016977 47359


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